Shea Patterson’s early performance this season for the Michigan Wolverines has come into question with the offense failing to realize its potential early on in the season. The quarterback play has been inconsistent and Patterson in particular has been criticized for not keeping the football on some of the option reads.
Some even have speculated that Michigan has instructed him to keep the ball to keep the defense honest, but offensive coordinator Josh Gattis that not all option reads are created equal and telling him to keep every time is not exactly the design they are going for.
“Nothing’s by design. Everything we do has some level of a read, whether it’s an RPO read or a quarterback read-run,” Gattis said on Monday. “It’s a little bit complex as far as the reads because you have to look at how they’re playing. Obviously Army did some things Saturday, jetting guys up the field to take that quarterback read away, but it gave us favorable matchups inside — six-man boxes and six-man blocking surfaces.
“One of the things (Army) did a good job with is continuing to pressure. I think they pressured 85-to-something percent of the time. Just cleaning up the little things. Every quarterback read-run isn’t going to automatically be a pull or one that he should have pulled. There was one that he pulled that he shouldn’t have pulled in the two-minute (drill). So we’ve just got to go back and look at the film, make the corrections and continue to get better.”
Patterson should not be all that unfamiliar with the option seeing as Michigan ran it a decent amount down the stretch last season. Gattis was asked if he is still getting used to it and he downplayed that there is some major adjustment process that Patterson is going through, citing the offenses’ need to improve and correct as a unit.
“I don’t think it’s a process by any means,” Gattis said. “I think everybody has at least some familiarity in this system. We’ve just got to make the right corrections for us. We can’t worry about last year, to this year or anything. We’ve just got to make correct decisions. Whether that’s in the drop-back pass game, whether that’s in our quarterback read-run game or whether that’s in our quarterback read-pass game. We’ve just got to continue to get the great looks, understand what the defense is trying to do, put them in conflict and make the best decisions.
Still, Gattis does admit that Patterson has been working through an oblique injury through the first two games of the year, but that is has had no effect on how he has been reading things, at least that’s the hope.
“He’s been banged up a little bit the past couple weeks with an oblique,” Gattis said. “It’s something that he’s struggled with since the first play against Middle Tennessee. But that had no effect — I hope it had no effect on his decision-making from that standpoint. Every read-run isn’t always going to be declared a pull. It’s numbers, angles, how tight is a defender, how wide is a defender? Are there two off the backside edge? There’s a lot that goes into play there.
“The common eye can see and say ‘Should have pulled it. Should have pulled it.’ But if people are playing wide and up the field, it gives you a favorable matchup in the box count, so those guys playing up the field can’t typically get in and play the running back. He made some good decisions in there. There were some decisions, obviously, he wishes he could’ve had back. You’ve got to keep correcting those decisions and get better from them.”
Gattis spoke for 20 minutes on Monday to review his offense and the job he has done so far, which you can view here below:
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